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Oglebay Park


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Oglebay Park, near Wheeling, in rural Ohio County, occupies land first claimed by Zachariah Sprigg in the late 1700s. His son, Wheeling lawyer Samuel Sprigg, was the first recorded landowner. Upon Samuel’s death in 1843, his daughter Elizabeth took title to about 415 acres of the original 900 acre tract. Elizabeth had married Wheeling doctor Hanson Chapline, and the Chaplines built the central portion of what is now Oglebay Park’s Mansion Museum. The property was purchased by George W. Smith in 1856. Smith named the farm Waddington, after his family’s ancestral English estate.

Waddington Farm was bought by Earl William Oglebay in 1901. A rich banker and industrialist who was fascinated by agriculture, Oglebay turned the place into an experimental farm and purchased about 1,000 additional acres surrounding the mansion and its original 25 acres. He willed Waddington Farm to the City of Wheeling upon his death, for use as a public park. In 1926, Wheeling accepted the $2 million farm and renamed it Oglebay Park.

Today, Oglebay Park, a 1,650-acre resort, is managed by the Wheeling Park Commission. It includes several golf courses, the Mansion Museum, a glass museum, many gardens, an amphitheater, Schenk Lake, Good Zoo, Schrader Environmental Education Center, and several guest cottages. Wilson Lodge has guest rooms and dining facilities and is a popular conference site.

Each winter, Oglebay Park hosts the Festival of Lights, a large holiday light display. The festival covers more than 300 acres on a six-mile drive through the park.

Read the National Register nomination.

Written by Christina Myer

Sources

  1. Fetherling, Doug. Wheeling: An Illustrated History. Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Pub., 1983.

  2. Weir, Ralph H. The Story of Oglebay Park, Wheeling, West Virginia, and the History of Oglebay Institute and the Oglebay Family. Columbus, OH: F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1963.